The ideal aircraft would be either an A340-500 or a B777-200LR.
But as I have written in the magazine, these ultra long-haul flights have fallen out of fashion owing to today’s fuel prices.
Istanbul-Sydney is only a few hundred miles shorter than today’s longest flight which is SIA’s non-stop service linking Singapore with New York.
SIA and Thai introduced non-stop flights from Singapore and Bangkok to the US but both failed to make a go out of it.
Thai axed its non-stop flights last year while SIA is set to follow later this year.
See these news items:
Ultra long-haul flights are fuel inefficient because in the early stages of the mission you are burning fuel just to carry fuel. That’s why a former AF CEO famously billed the A340-500 as a “flying fuel tanker with few people on board.”
Here’s a backgrounder as to why they have become unfashionable:
The non-stop market from Istanbul to Sydney must be small. It means therefore that TK would have to fill its flights (as it does in many cases now) by attracting transfer passengers.
But then if you’re flying from say, Rome or Paris or London or Manchester etc to Sydney then you already have a wide choice of one-stop flights with other top Asian and Gulf carriers such as SIA, CX, MAS, EK and EY. And, of course, GA will be joining the party from London next October.
What it means is that TK would have to undercut these rivals to attract customers which would then harm yield (ie revenue per seat) which in turn would make the flight uneconomic to operate.
Of course, nothing in the airline business is set in stone so it might happen but probably with a twin-engined rather than a four-engined plane even though those A340-500s can be acquired at knock-down prices.
Much depends on the price of oil. Who can predict what that will be in a few years’ time ?